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Nine Lives of Kaz cover

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2. Paperback Edition
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  • 516 pages
  • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
3. Hardcover Edition
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  • 516 pages
  • 6.0 x 9.0 inches

World War II, Polish refugees, Refugee camps, Biographical fiction, War journals, Gulag camps, Coming of age

Nine Lives of Kaz
An extraordinary survival story of two Polish families’ deadly journey from Siberia to freedom, during World War II
by Victoria Kiellerman

An extraordinary survival story of two families’

journey to freedom during World War II.

When you hear about how Stalin tormented hundreds of thousands of people and the devastating stories throughout his overwhelming existence, you wonder how any child could endure his torture and survive through the pain and agony of his wrath. But both Rysia Szuber and Kaz Kiellerman did.

Nine Lives of Kaz is based on the amazing journey of Kaz, who was only eleven years old when he and his family were forcibly taken from their home on February 10, 1940, and loaded onto freight trains, along with thousands of other Polish people, to travel to Gulag camps in frigid Siberia. Victoria also recounts Rysia’s journey, as she and her family were also among those thousands forced to leave Poland and work in labour camps.

After the British signed an amnesty agreement with Stalin in August 1941, the displaced Polish people were free to leave the camps. However, unable to go home due to the ongoing war and impoverished, they were subject to years of extreme hardship, as the British regime moved the displaced people from one country to the next, often setting up barracks and camps in desolate places.

Many times, Kaz’s family had barely any food or warmth to keep them alive. With cunning and stealth, Kaz often had to break the law to help feed his family. And many times, his courageous adventures brought him close to death.

Based on true events, from December 1939 to 1946, Nine Lives of Kaz is a remarkable tale of a young person’s resilience, resourcefulness, and hope.

Victoria Kiellerman photo

Victoria Kiellerman was born in Toronto, in 1960, and raised in Mississauga. She is the youngest child to Marysia (Rysia) and Kazimierz (Kaz) Kiellerman. Retired from a thirty-five-year career of elementary education, she is enjoying a creative life by writing, sewing, volunteering, and illustrating.

Growing up in an immigrant family, stories of her mother’s devastating years as a child—how she was stolen from her homeland, survived Siberia, lived in India, and ate mangos—resonated throughout her life. Having never heard of her father’s “story,” Victoria became interested in her father’s journey during WWII when Marysia, her mother, translated his memoirs to her. While discussing how her family travelled the same journey during the same time, Victoria typed out her mother’s stories as well. Learning of these devastating and courageous events were sometimes too upsetting to continue. Nevertheless, Victoria was determined to share their heritage with her family.


Victoria Kiellerman
Marysia Kiellerman
Michael Zukowsky

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